Monday, November 29, 2010

Community Garden Supporters Seek Greater Protections

Community garden activists rally on the steps of City Hall today before a City Council Committee on Parks & Recreation oversight hearing seeking greater protections. This will be the first public hearing since the City adopted its controversial new community garden rules in September. As a concession, the administration announced today that community gardens registered and licensed by the Parks Department will be good for four years instead of two. (Video capture: NY1 news)

Testifying today about the new rules adopted by the city, Bloomberg operative Larry Scott Blackmon, now a Deputy Commissioner for the Parks Department said, "There were those who spread fears that these rules were written as a means to further development. That is not and has never been our intent."

City Wide

Earlier this year, the city took steps to preserve hundreds of community gardens. But some critics say those protections didn't go far enough. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.

Even activists say the Bloomberg administration has been a friend when it comes to protecting the city's 600 community gardens. But they worry what could happen under a different mayor, one like Rudy Giuliani, who once sought to auction off gardens to developers.

"Some of it is flashing back to a previous administration that wasn’t supportive. And worrying that if an administration in the future is also not supportive, that they’re gonna have to fight for the future of their gardens all over again," said Steven Frillmann of Green Guerillas.

In September, the city’s Parks Department issued new regulations that protect community gardens so long as they're in good standing. But critics, some of whom rallied at City Hall Monday, say they want more permanent protection. They say the process for finding a garden in default is vague and worry it could lead to gardens being taken over by developers.

"We want to make sure that the city, if that’s the intent, that if there’s a problem with garden members, that the garden members are removed, but the garden itself remains intact," said Karen Washington of the New York City Community Garden Coalition.

Read/View More:

Community Garden Advocates Seek Greater Protections

NY 1 News - November 29, 2010 - By Bobby Cuza

Parks Announces Extension Of Community Garden License Agreements

City of New York/Parks & Recreation - Press Release - November 29, 2010

No Permanent Protections For Community Gardens Under New NYC Rules

A Walk In The Park - September 16, 2010

Bloomberg Campaign Operative Hired as Deputy Parks Commissioner

A Walk In The Park - January 11, 2010

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